Actually even professional wildlife photographers don't always take their winning photographs in the wild. Most of the wonderful pictures you see of wolves, polar bears and other wild creatures were taken at wildlife sanctuaries and zoos. Cheating? Maybe, but it's safer for the photographer and doesn't disturb their free roaming cousins' mating and feeding cycles. Some of the wildlife sanctuaries offer special tours for photographers, but even without the advantages these tours offer (often being allowed to get closer shots and without all the people), there are many things the hobbyist with a compact can do to take professional looking photographs of wildlife.